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A River City revelry

"As a sixth-grader, it's just trying new things," said Brendan Mortensen, who will be playing the part of Winthrop Paroo.

"You can make friends really easily, too," added eighth-grader Greg Brazis-Eberle, who will play Mayor George Shinn.

Some of the players are veterans of the school musicals. Lead players Mistler-Ferguson and Ashliann Arditi (Marian Paroo) were both in last year's production of "The Wizard of Oz," but have found scenes of "The Music Man" to be much different"especially when the two share a stage kiss.

"It's a lot more romantic," said Mistler-Ferguson.

First performed in 1957, "The Music Man" was a breakout hit that has inspired a film, television remake, numerous recordings and countless performances by groups all over. Packed with musical numbers, the play tells the story of a traveling con man who falls for a girl in River City, Iowa, after selling the townspeople musical instruments and uniforms to rid their children of "sin and corruption."

It's not an easy play, said Daly, but the actors put in the work required to give off a remarkable performance for their age.

"We know what the kids can do, but I think the audience is always surprised at the level these kids perform at," Daly said.

"The Music Man" will be performed at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, Feb. 4, Feb. 5, and Feb. 6, with a snow date set for Sunday, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. All shows will be in the middle school auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students, and will be on sale on Sunday, Jan. 31, from noon to 3 p.m. and on show nights from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.

Conway advised that those interested secure their tickets in advance " in the last three years they've sold out every show. Daly attributed the success only in part to familial support, saying that other students also pack the auditorium.

"It's the students in the school who come and support their peers," she said.

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